Benevento travel guide. The discovery of the Lombard city.

Benevento View on map

Benevento is a small Italian town located seventy kilometers from Naples, between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian. Three rivers run through the town. On the slopes of the surrounding hills grow vineyards, tobacco plantations and olive groves.

Thanks to the mountain peaks that seem to outline the outline of a resting woman towering over the city, Benevento has earned the nickname “The Sleeper of Sannio” (Sannio).

The current population is 63,000 inhabitants. The city is under the patronage of San Bartolomeo Apostolo, whose relics are visited by Christian pilgrims from all over the world.

History

Legend has it that Benevento was founded by the Greek hero Diomede. Research suggests that the area was inhabited by the Samnite tribes and the city has changed many names over the years, the first of which was “Malies”. Benevento received its present name from the Romans who defeated it on the Pirro River in 275 BC. At various times it was also dominated by the Lombards and the papal rectorate. In the autumn of 1860, a referendum was held which resulted in the annexation of the city to Italy.

Benevento

Benevento is a city in the Italian region of Campania, the administrative center of the province of the same name, located 50 km northeast of Naples. It lies on a hill at an altitude of 130 meters above sea level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and Sabato rivers. In the past, where Benevento stands today, there was the antique town of Beneventum, and before that the Malovent or Maloenton. The ancient Romans believed that the name, Malovent, came from the words “malum” and “eventum”, meaning “place of bad events”. One of Benevento’s churches, Santa Sofia, is listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in the category “Lombards in Italy. Places of Power (568-774)”. Malovent was one of the most important cities of the Samnite civilization and later of all Southern Italy, thanks to its advantageous geographical location on the ancient Appian Way, 51 km from Capua. According to the legend, it was founded by Diomede, a participant in the Trojan War, but the first reliable sources mention it as a Samnite city. It was a very fortified city, as the Romans in their two campaigns against the Samnites did not even try to attack Malovent. Only in the 3rd century BC did the city surrender to the Roman Empire and become known as Beneventum, “the place of good events”. As a Roman colony, Beneventum prospered and was considered one of the richest cities in Italy. Many remains from this period have survived, including ancient inscriptions and the Arch of Trajan, built in 114, one of the best preserved Roman buildings in Campania. Some of the ancient sculptures found here are now preserved in the British Museum. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Benevento was conquered by the Gothic ruler Totila, who ordered to raze its fortified city walls, but soon, in 576, the city became the center of the powerful Duchy of Lombardy, which existed until the year 773. Then began a tumultuous period of change of power: the Lombards were replaced by the Franks, the Germans came in their place and in the 11th century the Normans replaced them. The Normans conquered Benevento in 1077, but four years later it became part of the papal possessions – the Holy See ruled here for more than seven centuries. Only in 1806, Napoleon gave Benevento to his minister Talleyrand, who, however, never visited his “kingdom”. In 1860, the city became part of the united Italy. Today Benevento is a large prosperous city which attracts tourists with its historical and architectural monuments. Some of the ancient Roman monuments are the Arch of Trajan, built into the city walls; the well-preserved amphitheatre next to the Porta Arsa gate; the great Cryptoportica, about 60 meters long; the brick Arch of Sacramento; the Ponte Leproso; the Baths on the way to Avellino and the foundations of the Temple of Isis, made in the buffalo shape and discovered in 1903. There, by the way, were found numerous sculptures in the Egyptian and Greco-Roman style. The most famous church of Benevento is Santa Sofia, a round Lombard building from the 8th century, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Also of interest is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta with its elegant arched facade and square bell tower. The cathedral was built in the 9th century and rebuilt in 1114 in the Pisa-Gothic style. Inside are statues of the 14th century apostle Bartolmeo and of Saint Giuseppe Moscati, a native of Benevento.

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Another notable structure is Rocca dei Rettori, overlooking the city and overlooking the valley of both the Calore and Sabato rivers and both ancient roads, the Via Appia and Via Traiana. Other attractions in Benevento include the very ancient, small structure of Sant’Ilario not far from the Arch of Trajan, Palazzo di Paolo V of the 16th century, the churches of San Salvatore and San Francesco alla Dogana and the Baroque churches of Annunziata, San Bartolomeo and San Filippo.

City of Witches

During the Middle Ages, Benevento enjoyed the notoriety of a “city of witches”. Local folklore has preserved tales of sabbaths held by devils who gathered around the mystical walnut tree for their rituals. This legend became the basis for the ballet “The Nut of Benevento” by F. Süsmayer and S. The legend was the basis for the ballet The Nut of Benevento by F. Süller and S. Viganò, premiered at the La Scala Theater in 1812. And the famous “dance of the witches” from this performance inspired the genius Paganini to compose the Witches Variations for Violin and Orchestra.

The times of the witches have faded into oblivion, but some farmers claim that unbelievable things still happen in a number of areas. And in 1860 they began to produce Strega, or “The Witch”, a saffron-coloured liqueur that has long been one of Benevento’s trademarks.

Historical background

Before the arrival of the Romans, who changed its name to Beneventum, there was a Samnite settlement, Maleventum. The Appian Way passed through it, allowing the Romans to use it as a bridgehead to spread their influence in southern Italy. At Beneventum in 275 BC the Epirus king Pyrrhus lost his last battle with the Romans[2].

In the last years of the empire, Benevent was defeated by the Gothic leader Totila. The Lombards, who had chosen Benedent as the center of their power in southern Italy, took on the task of restoring it. The Duchy of Benevento, created in 571, remained in power south of Rome until the end of the 9th century, when internal conflicts made it unimportant. In the eleventh century the city was ruled by the Byzantines, then by the Pope until the unification of Italy.

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In 860, Adelhaize, duke of Benevento, gave refuge to Lambert and Hildebert, Count of Camerino, who had fled their dominion and conspired against King Louis II of Italy.

Somewhat later, Adelhaize, together with Prince Gwefer of Salerno and Duke Sergius II of Naples, led a rebellion of the southern Italian nobility. In 871 they were joined by Lambert, who became Duke of Spoleto, and his relative Lambert the Bald, the new Count of Camerino. The Duke of Benevento captured Louis II and held him captive for more than a month, from August 13 to September 17, 871 – the emperor was released after vowing no revenge against the rebels, but immediately after his release Spoleto and Camerino were confiscated by him. Lambert II again found refuge in Benevento with Prince Adelhiz, this time with Lambert the Bald. In 872 they fought the Saracens, defeating their army holding Salerno under siege[3].

The following year Pope John VIII freed Louis II from the oath he had sworn to Adelchise, after which the emperor laid siege to Benevento – however, he failed.

In 1266, under the walls of Benevento, King Charles of Anjou defeated the last Staufenian monarch, Manfred of Sicily, and seized his kingdom.

Cathedral

Il Duomo di Benevento is just one kilometer from the train station. The church was built on the site of the ancient center of the city by the first Christians. The foundations date back to the VII century. Near the cathedral there is the Church of St. Bartholomew, where his relics are kept, as well as the Church of the Holy Savior, the closed courtyard of Mimmo Paladino, the Arch of the Sacrament, the Church of St. Augustine and the Church of St. Francis.

Attractions

An important pilgrimage center for Christians from around the world is the Basilica di San Bartolomeo Apostolo in Benevento, which houses the relics of the saint. Of the monuments of the past in Benevento, where almost every wall is made up of fragments of altars, tombs, columns and vaults, especially the well-preserved Arch of Trajan (15,5 m. high), built in 114, is remarkable and now stands as the Golden Gate (Porta aurea).

) makes up the city gate. It consists of a simple, well-preserved arch of Paros marble with an inscription that can still be made out; on the pediment are relief images of events from the life of Trajan, but they are only half preserved. The Roman amphitheatre (Teatro romano) was extensively restored in comparatively recent times.

The Duomo of Benevento – Cattedrale of Santa Maria Assunta is remarkable.

  • ), century built by the Lombards in the 7th century and modified several times, with its bronze doors and splendid images, as well as the church of St. Sofia (Chiesa di Santa Sofia ; VIII century, rebuilt 1688) with faded frescos and a 12th century chiestro and the 14th century papal castle (Rocca dei Rettori). The Egyptian obelisks in the different squares are a distinctive feature of the urban layout, which allows Benevento to bear a certain resemblance to Rome.
  • Roman Amphitheatre
  • Trajan’s Arch
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Facade of the city’s Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Holidays and traditional events

The city celebrates a number of religious memorial days, including the patron saint of the city, St. Bartholomew, celebrated on August 24th.

There are also traditional events:

Benevento Longobarda, a reenactment of the Areca II era. Held in June.

Beach Volley Cup – beach volleyball championship. Held in June.

Benevento Città Spettacolo – Festival of theater. There are star performances, exhibitions and workshops. Held in early September.

Festa del Torrone is a gastronomic festival. Held in December.

The specialties and cuisine of Benevento

This city has made Campania famous all over the world for Caciocavallo cheese, almond nougat, Sannio olive oil, Strega liqueur, white wines Sant’Agata de’ Goti and DOC Falangina, red dry wine DOCG Aglianico del Taburno.

Benevento

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

Benevento

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

Benevento is a city in Italy in the region of Campania. According to legend, Benevento was founded by the Greek hero Diomedes, who arrived in Italy after the destruction of Troy. Diomedes brought with him the fang of a Calydonian boar killed by Meleagros, Diomedes’ uncle. The boar has been the symbol of Benevento ever since . Historians write that Benevento was founded by the Wasps. It was then inhabited by the Samnites. The ancient Romans arrived in Benevento in 314 BC, at that time the settlement was called Maleventum and was one of the main centers of the Samnites. However, the Romans did not take it as a colony until 268 B.C., when it was renamed Beneventum. The role of the city increased when the road of Trajan was built, which was a continuation of the Appian Way. Benevento grew and prospered, it was the second largest city after Capua in southern Italy. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Benevento was conquered by the Visigoths, Vandals and Goths. In 571 the Lombards came, establishing their duchy. In 840 the Duchy of Benevento was divided into two principalities with capitals in Salerno and Capua. In the eleventh century. Benevento came under Norman rule, which lasted for several centuries. Then came the time of the Angevin and Aragonese rule. Then the Bourbons came to power. Napoleon conquered Benevento in 1798. And in 1860 Benevento became part of the united Italy. At that time many new buildings and monuments were built, agriculture began to develop – the cultivation of tobacco, wheat, confectionery production, the production of liqueurs and ceramics became famous.

The historical center of Benevento is located on a hill between the Calore and Sabato rivers. The city was designed by the Romans and the present day Avenida Garibaldi was a decumanus (a road which runs from west to east). Now corso Garibaldi and corso Dante are the main streets of Benevento with many stores and cafes, flanked by the historic districts of the city. The Lombards surrounded the city with a wall, but only sections of it remain.

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 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

Corso Garibaldi starts from the fortress of Benevento which is named Rocca dei Rettori.

Benevento. Italy

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

Corso Garibaldi starts from the fortress of Benevento which is named Rocca dei Rettori.

Benevento. Italy

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

Corso Garibaldi starts from the fortress of Benevento which is named Rocca dei Rettori.

Benevento. Italy

Opposite the fortress is the building of the Chamber of Commerce.

Benevento

Walk along Corso Garibaldi to the Chiesa di Santa Sofia. We will recognize it by its towering bell tower, which dates to the XVIII century.

Chiesa di Santa Sofia.

The church is under UNESCO protection. It was built in 760 during the period of the Lombard rule and is one of the most important buildings of the Lombards in Italy that have survived to this day. The church has a star on the plan. The church was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1688 and was rebuilt in Baroque style. The historic forms were hidden and rediscovered only in 1951 during the restoration. The church was part of the monastery complex and now is a museum that has 4 exhibitions: Archaeology, Medieval, Art and History.

Church of Saint Sophia. Benevento

Going along Corso Garibaldi , at the intersection with via Traiano , we will find the Trajan’s Arch.

Trajan’s Arch.

The Arch of Trajan is one of the best examples of Roman monuments. The Arch was erected in honor of the Emperor Trajan in 114-117 at the beginning of the road with the same name. It has one vault. The arch is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting peaceful and military scenes. In the Middle Ages the arch was incorporated into the wall surrounding the city. The height of the arch is 15.60 meters, the height of the arch is 8 meters. It is made of limestone and lined with marble.

Trajan's Arch. Benevento

We pass by the arch on via S. Pasquale , at the very beginning is another Lombard church, the Church of St. Hilary at the Aurelian Gate. The church was built in the VI-VII centuries. In the XVII century, the church was closed for religious ceremonies. In 2003, the church was restored.

Church of St. Hilarius.

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

Corso Garibaldi starts from the fortress of Benevento which is named Rocca dei Rettori.

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

Corso Garibaldi starts from the fortress of Benevento which is named Rocca dei Rettori.

Benevento. Italy

Benevento

In piazza Papiniano is the Egyptian Obelisk, which was once in the Temple of Isis. The temple was erected in 88-89 under Emperor Domitian. The temple has now been destroyed and the sculptures and fragments of bas-reliefs are preserved in the museum.

Egyptian Obelisk. Benevento.

The Egyptian obelisk. Benevento

Corso Garibaldi and Piazza Orsini form a vast square, dominated by the angular and monumental Cathedral, which dates back to 780. In the twelfth century it was enlarged and the Romanesque façade was renewed. The Gothic bell tower was added in 1280. But the cathedral was severely damaged during the bombing of 1943, of which only the bell tower, the facade and the crypt with the frescos remained. The present cathedral was erected after the war.

Cathedral. Benevento.

In Via Teatro Romano, the Roman theater was begun in 126 by the Andrian emperor, but was finished in 200-210 by the Caracalla emperor. During the time of the Lombards the theater was abandoned and partially dismantled for the construction of houses and churches. The theater was not opened to the public until 1957. It has a diameter of 90 meters and can hold 10,000 spectators.

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Back on Viale San Lorenzo, which is a continuation of Corso Garibaldi and Corso Dante. We are in the historical center of Benevento, but there are some interesting sights. At the very beginning of the avenue, there is a stone statue of the bull Bue Apis . An Egyptian statue was found in the river Sabato in 1629. Most likely the sacred Egyptian bull was in the temple of Isis, which existed in Benevento in the first century.

From here you can admire the majestic and lofty Basilica della Madonna delle Grazie, dedicated to the patron saint of Benevento, whose feast is on July 2. The first stone was laid in 1839 but the basilica was not consecrated until 1901. The Neoclassical façade blends beautifully with the perspective of the street.

On the other side of the train station is the ancient Roman bridge Leproso. The bridge spans the Sabato River, which is how the ancient Appian Way comes to the city and then turns to Brindisi. The bridge was built in the 3rd century BC. During the earthquake of 1702, it was badly damaged and was rebuilt by Giovan Battista Nauclerio, who reduced the number of arches from five to four.

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

If you arrive in Benevento by train, it is more convenient to follow the route in the opposite direction.

 10 trips to Italian romantic movie locations.  Italians know how to not only speak beautifully about love, but also to make cute and romantic movies, where the main characters find the most heartfelt words and their views do not lie. Not the least of these is the location, .

A – Fortress B – Church of St. Sophia C – Arch of Trajan D – Church of St. Hilarius E – Egyptian Obelisk F – Cathedral G – Roman theater H – Basilica della Madonna delle Grazie I – Bridge of Leproso

And here you ask, “Why does the title say Benevento is a city of witches and nothing magical ever happened.” Here’s why.

Benevento has been known since time immemorial as the city of witches . Legend has it that all Italian witches gathered for a coven near the walnut tree in Benevento on the bank of the Sabato River. It was believed that the walnut tree was particularly favored by demons, which is why witches chose a place near it for their gatherings. A detailed description of the pagan traditions of witches is found in Peter Piepernus’ book De nuce maga beneventana. The huge tree is covered with foliage all year round, and the nuts on it are pyramid-shaped, they were expensive because people believed that these nuts could protect against accidents and cure various illnesses. Snakes hung from the tree, which the people of Benevento worshipped as a deity. This all dates back to pagan Roman times. But Piepernus also writes of the Christian 16th century, when, during interrogation and torture, a certain Violante confessed that at the walnut tree she worshipped the goddess Diana and the goddess of dancing, Erodias (or Herodias), supposedly they had a feast and dances. In modern Benevento you can find souvenirs with a girl on a broom, visit a witch museum or buy an infused herbal liqueur, “The Witch”.

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